Reader’s view: People with much can do more for the greater goodSeveral years ago I submitted a letter, and the editor (no offense) wrote a headline that turned my argument on its head (Reader’s View: “Tithing a good model for taxation,” Oct. 10, 2010). The point I was trying to suggest was lost.
By: Rev. David Tryggestad, Duluth News Tribune
Several years ago I submitted a letter, and the editor (no offense) wrote a headline that turned my argument on its head (Reader’s View: “Tithing a good model for taxation,” Oct. 10, 2010). The point I was trying to suggest was lost.
I’ll give it another shot.
One of my mentors in ministry once offered a visual demonstration of the biblical principle of tithing, or giving 10 percent of income. Across the top of the altar, he laid fruits, nuts and vegetables of various varieties and sizes, ranging from a peanut on one end to a pumpkin on the other, with many others on a graduated scale in between. Each one represented the offering of one 10th of household income, leaving nine others for household expenses. Those who earned 10 peanuts were left with nine while those who earned 10 pumpkins also were left with nine.
Now here is where the editor missed my point (again, no offense). I wondered if this visual image might inform our conversations about income and wealth disparity and taxes. The editor apparently took my use of the word “inform” to mean to “be a model.” If my illustration were to be a model, my argument would be for a flat tax. Indeed, look at how much more the one with the pumpkins pays in taxes. However, if the illustration serves to inform the conversation, we might focus on how much each has left and on how much is remaining. How much is left in the pantry at home? How many times more are nine pumpkins compared to nine peanuts? How many more pumpkins might be offered to the greater good so that those with peanuts might not go to bed hungry every night? How many pumpkin pies does one really need?
Rev. David Tryggestad